October 2023 Updates

This month: Developing virtual programming, digital content accessibility, internal brand use survey, the September goodbye and welcome list, ISU Benefits open enrollment, and other FYIs.

Virtual education tech tip: Developing virtual programming

From Kris Baldwin, educational technology resources specialist

If you are thinking about adding a virtual component to your program, whether designing a new course or moving existing content into an online presence, consider your audience and the best way to deliver your content. One option might be to use a learning management system (LMS), software that helps you create, organize, and deliver virtual learning experiences.

To help you feel more prepared to make decisions about using an LMS, Professional Development, Extension IT, and the Extension Store have collaborated to provide the following guidance. For more information, visit the Virtual Education Planning Considerations page on MyExtension.

  1. Planning Considerations: Is online learning a good fit for your program when considering audiences, funding sources, and technology needs?
  2. Learning Delivery Modes: Do you know what kinds of online learning experiences exist? Are you speaking the same language as those who will support the creation and delivery of your online learning experience?
  3. Choosing a Learning Management System: Is Moodle or Canvas the appropriate learning management system for your online course?

Reminder: Digital content must be accessible

Shared by Regenea Hurte, advisor -- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Iowa State University’s Digital Accessibility Policy went into effect in February 2022 and requires that all digital resources be fully accessible by July 1, 2026. Accessible means that individuals who identify as living with a disability can independently acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services within the same time frame as individuals without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use. If we create or purchase digital content, we need to be sure that whatever we are creating or purchasing is digitally accessible: social media posts, electronic documents, digital course materials, anything that can be accessed on an electronic device needs to be accessible. Tools are available in the Extension Store to help you learn how to build accessible digital materials in Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign CC, and Acrobat Pro DC.

ISU Extension and Outreach branding: Please tell us what you need!

From the Advancement team

All extension staff are ambassadors for ISU Extension and Outreach. How confident are you in being able to accurately represent the brand in your materials and communications? Do you have challenges, needs, or wish-list items? Whether your day-to-day work entails formal communication, program creation, field support, administration, or something else, we invite you to take our internal brand use survey. The survey opens October 18 and will be active through November 3. It will take less than 10 minutes to complete, and responses will be aggregated and kept confidential.

Please take the survey and share your thoughts. Advancement will use the results to identify areas where more resources, guidance, or training might be helpful. If you have questions, please email extbranding@iastate.edu. Thank you!

For your information

  • Area meeting video available: You can watch the recording (from the south central meeting, October 2 in Newton) of Vice President Jason Henderson’s remarks about the strategic planning process.
  • Goodbye … and welcome, September 2023: Please review this list of individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach in the past month, as well as those who have joined our organization.
  • The Growing Together Multi-State Collaborative has received the national Excellence in Extension Team Award from USDA NIFA, Cooperative Extension, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The collaborative expands access to fresh produce at food distribution sites and offers companion nutrition and gardening education to those experiencing nutrition insecurity. It involves nine states and is modeled on Growing Together Iowa, which ISU Extension and Outreach initiated in 2016. Growing Together Iowa is funded by SNAP-Ed funds from USDA. Katie Sorrell, SNAP-Ed policy, systems and environment change coordinator, leads the multi-state collaborative and will accept the award along with Christine Hradek, coordinator for ISU Extension and Outreach SNAP-Ed, at the APLU Annual Meeting in November.
  • 2024 ISU Benefits Open Enrollment Period, November 1-17, is the annual opportunity for ISU paid employees to elect or change health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, and the eyewear discount plan for the upcoming plan year. See the University Human Resources website for more information. Iowa State recognizes county paid extension employees have different needs and offers a benefit program that will allow you to choose between different benefit options to design the benefit plan that is right for you. See the County Extension Benefits page for more information.

Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach | vpeo@iastate.edu | 515-294-6675